Stopping short of describing Darjeeling as an “inseparable” part of West Bengal, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday emphasised the need for people from the hills and other parts of the State to work together to ensure development in the region.

“Darjeeling is the heart of Bengal. We love our brothers and sisters of the hills,” Ms. Banerjee said at an event in Darjeeling, even as she warned those "trying to ruin this love” by “cleverly hatching conspiracies.”

Ms. Banerjee, who had ruffled the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) leadership’s feathers when she declared that Darjeeling was an “inseparable” part of the State during her visit in January, was more subtle this time.

Her remarks, however, made in GJM president Bimal Gurung’s presence, were significant as relations with the party, that maintains its demand for a separate State of Gorkhaland, have recently been tenuous.

“Darjeeling is just like other parts of my State,” Ms. Banerjee said at an event where she inaugurated several projects for the region.

“I do not wish to speak to you about political matters”, Ms. Banerjee said.